Prior to the Carter
Administration... taking over in January of 1977, we had... discussed what the principal issues
were going to be, and very high on our list was U.S.-Soviet relations. And at the heart of that
was arms negotiations — that had always been a bell-cow in U.S.-Soviet relationships. So we
decided that we would set up an inter-agency study to take a look at what our options were, and
where we should go. Basically, there were two fundamental options: one was to build on the
Vladivostok accords, which had been worked out by President Ford and Brezhnev, at Vladivostok.
There, as you may remember, agreement had been reached on aggregate numbers of missile
launchers, both in the aggregate for all missiles, and in terms of MIRV missiles. And, those
numbers were 2,400 on the aggregate overall, and 1,320, as I recall it, on the MIRVed missiles.
The other... bone of contention that remained after Vladivostok was what to do about cruise
missiles, and what to do about the Backfire bomber. The first alternative was to say, "Let's
build on that. Accept the aggregate numbers, not try to get back in and re-argue with the
Soviets, What would be included in the aggregates, how many heavy missiles, and that kind of
thing. And to see if there wasn't some simple way to have a loose kind of agreement with respect
to cruise missiles, which preserved our options, and try and reach some kind of loose agreement
with respect to the Backfire, on the issue of the Backfire bomber. The other alternative was to
go for deep cuts, to say, "What has been agreed to at Vladivostok is simply not acceptable. We
have to really make a major leap forward, and we have to do that by going into deep cuts. And
the deep cuts have to be not only in numbers of missiles, but we also have to find ways to limit
qualitative improvements on missiles.